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Only 1 In 5 Countries Implement Guidelines On Marketing Of Breast-Milk Substitutes, WHO Report Says

The WHO on Tuesday “called for ensuring that women have accurate information and support regarding the importance of breastfeeding, after a new report found that only one in five countries fully implement international guidelines about the marketing of breast-milk substitutes,” the U.N. News Centre reports (7/30). “Only 37 countries, or 19 percent of those reporting, have passed laws reflecting all the recommendations of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, according to a new WHO report published during World Breastfeeding Week,” which is “celebrated in more than 170 countries from August 1-7,” according to a WHO press release (7/30). In addition, the report “says that mothers are often inundated with incorrect or biased information directly through advertising, health claims, information packs and sales representatives and indirectly through the public health system,” the Jakarta Post writes. “It further said the distribution of samples of infant formula also had an adverse impact on breastfeeding,” according to the newspaper (7/31). “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended by WHO and its partners up to six months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond,” Xinhua notes, adding, “But globally only an estimated 38 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed for six months,” according to the WHO (7/30). A related article on the WHO website examines breastfeeding in Peru (July 2013).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.